Game developer GSC has announced its ambitions to debut PC game S.T.A.L.K.E.R have been pushed back to at least May 2005.
The game was initially scheduled for a November 2004 release. It will be distributed by THQ.
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game world is set in Chernobyl several years after the nuclear disaster. Populated by radioactive mutants, the player takes the role of a mercenary, competing against other mercenaries for bounty.
Developers GSC are a Russian startup company, and are using advanced and untested technologies to create the sophisticated game world. Each character in the game lives a full life cycle, including hunting, feeding, resting, sleeping and combat. The nature of this advanced AI (artificial intelligence) is a key reason for the delay.
The game world also features day and night cycles, and claims accurate weather modelling.
Oleg Yavorsky, PR manager for GSC, explained: "It is a hard step to take. Ultimately, I think it is a reasonable thing to do, although I know it may disappoint many of our fans. We will use the time wisely and the end result will be worth waiting for".
AAA PC titles have been scarce in 2004. Along with Doom 3 and Half-Life 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was highly anticipated as a key release for 2004.